One 2 Watch – EFL 2017/18

The English Football League (EFL) season kicks off this weekend with a full programme of games across all three divisions.

Josh Larcombe discusses some of the up-and-coming and established players that could have a big impact on the 2017/18 campaign.

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Championship

Andy Boyle

Irish | 26 | Central defender | Preston North End

Once upon a time Andy Boyle captained Dundalk as they became the first Irish team to win a group stage European game, away against Maccabi Tel Aviv.

However, after Dundalk’s dream Europa League campaign he chose to join Preston North End.

The highly-rated ball playing centre back could be pivotal to Alex Neil’s team if he consistently shows the form that earned him his first Ireland cap in March 2017.

Daniel Bentley

English | 24 | Goalkeeper | Brentford

After demonstrating such an enormous amount of potential during his time at Southend United, Brentford will be wanting to get the most out of Daniel Bentley following their average tenth placed finish in 2016/17.

Bentley undoubtedly has the potential to play in the Premier League and if everything goes to plan this term there is no reason why both Bentley and Brentford cannot be playing Premier League football come August 2018.

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John Lundstram

English | 23 | Midfielder | Sheffield United

The Everton academy graduate had spent a number of seasons out on loan without leaving a lasting impression before finally settling at Oxford United in the summer of 2015.

After being named Oxford captain in 2016 he played a pivotal role in their eighth placed finish in League One.

This form attracted Championship new-boys Sheffield United who snapped up the rising star for a significant six-figure fee, no doubt in the hope that John Lundstram can help keep them up in their first second-tier season in six years.

Famara Diedhiou

Senegalese | 24 | Striker | Bristol City

Bristol City once again broke their transfer record this summer, again buying a tall, Ivorian centre forward from Angers – and no, they haven’t re-bought Jonathan Kodjia.

Lee Johnson might well have pulled off a masterstroke if Diedhiou has the same impact that Kodjia did in his season at Ashton Gate, and judging by his pre-season performances so far he might do just that.

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League One

Luke McGee

English | 21 | Goalkeeper | Portsmouth

As Peterborough’s 2016-17 Players’ Player of the Year, Luke McGee comes with a big reputation and an upwardly mobile Portsmouth will be hoping to put his ability to good use as they look to keep the party going following their long-awaited title triumph last season.

Having left Tottenham Hotspur for Portsmouth on a permanent deal, McGee will need to impress if he hopes to work his way back up the pyramid and I would expect him to once again be up there with the best in League One come May.

Regan Poole

Welsh | 19 | Central defender | Northampton Town (on loan from Manchester United)

Poole’s career thus far has followed a similar path to many before him: perform above expectations at a lower level, get snapped up by one of football’s giants, eventually plateau due to a lack of consistent game time.

The Welsh defender will be hoping to break the mould at Northampton this season, and given his superb attributes, it is not beyond possibility that he could excel at League One level.

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Funso Ojo

Belgian | 25 | Midfielder | Scunthorpe United

Although this might not be the Ojo that English fans are waiting to hear about, there is every reason to be excited by this signing from Scunthorpe.

On paper, the Belgian midfielder has the pedigree to match the best having made numerous appearances in both the Belgian and Dutch Premier Leagues after graduating from the PSV Eindhoven academy; if his pedigree matches his ability then the Iron could be on to a winner with this signing.

Danny Graham

English | 31 | Striker | Blackburn Rovers

I know this pick might seem a little obvious but there is good reason for it, Danny Graham has scored goals wherever he has played.

Having scored just under one goal every two games last season in the Championship, Blackburn Rovers fans have every right to expect Graham to be the man to fire them back into the Championship at the first time of asking.

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League Two

Marek Stech

Czech | Goalkeeper | 27 | Luton Town

After leaving Yeovil for Sparta Prague in 2014, the Czech goalkeeper finds himself back in England at a level where he will be able to showcase his qualities.

Nathan Jones has played his ace convincing Stech to drop to a level that he is obviously much better than and Jones and his backroom staff will be hoping that Stech is the final piece of the puzzle that is promotion from League Two.

Sean Raggett

English | Central defender | 23 | Lincoln City

Lincoln’s imposing centre-half was highly rated by many pundits and managers alike last season, even making his way into Adam Virgo’s National League Team of the Year.

It will be interesting to see how well Raggett makes the step up to the Football League having never played higher than the National League, however, the defender has been linked with moves to West Ham and Norwich so far this pre-season so we will have to wait and see if he stays put.

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Liam Noble

English | Midfielder | 26 | Forest Green Rovers

Forest Green have rejected numerous bids from Notts County for their midfielder and as such Mark Cooper will be hoping that he is the man to keep them above the red line in their first ever season in League Two.

Danny Newton

English | Striker | 26  Stevenage Borough

The 26-year-old striker is making his first foray into professional football with Stevenage after signing a two-year deal.

Newton scored 29 goals for Tamworth last season before spending some time with Jamie Vardy’s V9 Academy, becoming the first player to sign a professional contract after playing in the academy.

Darren Sarll will be hoping that Newton can provide a similar amount of energy to Vardy and eventually propel Stevenage up the league table.

Author Details

Josh Larcombe

Yeovil fan, League Two obsessive and aspiring journalist. I have previously written match reports, with this being my first foray into feature writing.

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